January Book Haul

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Here are the books I’ve picked up in January! Some are from this wonderful used bookstore in Washington D.C. (Carpe Librum), some are from a library used book sale, some are from Book of the Month Club, and I picked one up at the Strand’s pop-up store in New York.

Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit – I picked this one up while visiting a friend in New York at one of the Strand’s pop-up locations; I figured that it would be a timely read given the current political situation. It’s a very short collection of essays discussing violence against women, misogyny, and the importance of feminism.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood – I picked this as an extra selection in my Book of the Month box for January. This was chosen as BotM’s Book of the Year, and it’s described on Goodreads as “a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.” I’ve seen a lot of amazing reviews, and feel like this is something I’m really going to like.

Lucky You by Erika Carter – this was my Book of the Month Club pick for January–it’s the story of three friends who decide to go live off the grid. I’ve been hearing from reviews that the characters are very unlikable and that it’s quite a sad story, but as I tend to have unpopular opinions about a lot of books, it may just work for me.

The Incarnations by Susan Barker – this was a used bookstore find that I’ve been hearing great things about. It was published in 2014 and is about a man who finds a series of letters that seem to be about his past lives and believes he is being watched by someone who has known him throughout all of these lives.

The Lover by Marguerite Duras – this is a very short novel (I think I heard about it on Flavorwire’s list of recommended short books) that focuses on an affair between a young French girl and an older Chinese man. Also, Roxane Gay gave it 5 stars on Goodreads, so there’s that.

Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett – I saw this in a used bookstore and remembered that I really wanted to read it, but had no memory of what it was supposed to be about. Goodreads says: “Feverish and forthright, Pond is an absorbing chronicle of the pitfalls and pleasures of a solitudinous life told by an unnamed woman living on the cusp of a coastal town.

The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – this one sounds amazing, and I’m so excited that I found a copy at a used bookstore. From Goodreads, it’s “a reimagining of the world-famous Indian epic, the Mahabharat—told from the point of view of an amazing woman. Relevant to today’s war-torn world, The Palace of Illusions takes us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. Narrated by Panchaali, the wife of the legendary Pandavas brothers in the Mahabharat, the novel gives us a new interpretation of this ancient tale. “

And Yet They Were Happy by Helen Phillips – I was browsing the sites for a few independent publishers that I like and stumbled across this book which was on sale for $5 (shipping included!) on Leapfrog Press’s website. It’s a collection of short stories, all of which are only two pages long, which are supposed to be quite weird, creative, and varied. I’m really looking forward to this one.

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn – this novella was a freebie in this month’s Book of the Month Club box. I’ve read all three of Gillian Flynn’s previous books–Gone Girl was by far my favorite–and I’m looking forward to picking up this little book, probably during the next Dewey’s Readathon.

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I also picked up these four books at my library’s used book sale for $1 each. This book sale was actually kind of a letdown for me; I feel like I usually have better luck and find more books that I’m super interested in. Instead, I really wasn’t finding anything, but I did pick up these four, which were more impulse buy-ish compared to the books I typically pick up. However, after asking around on Bookstagram I’m especially glad I picked up It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini, as a lot of people seem to really love it and it sounds like a book I’d really like. The others I’m more on the fence about, but will definitely give them a shot.

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Also, my friend got me these two awesome-sounding books: one is a collection of literary-inspired cocktail recipes, and the other is a recipe book inspired by Gilmore Girls.

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Readathon TBRs: 24 in 48 and Diverseathon

I’ve been having a REALLY hard time with TBRs this month; I’ve essentially completely ignored mine except to read all of the graphic novels on my TBR list for Bout of Books. Sometimes I just really get into the mood-reader zone and can’t focus on any lists I’ve made for myself; one of the things I’d really like to do in 2017 is feel less guilty about letting go of my TBR and not pressuring myself to #readmyowndamnbooks if I’m on a roll with library books or ebooks or whatever. Sometimes I just get reading slump-y and can’t focus, and that needs to be OK.

That being said, I also LOVE readathons, and especially creating TBRs for them. In these next few weeks before the end of January, I’m planning to participate in both the 24 in 48 readathon (this will my third time participating) and the Diverseathon (this will be my first time participating!). They sort of overlap, which is awesome: #24in48 takes place this weekend (Jan 21-22) whereas Diverseathon lasts a full week (Jan 22-29).

The 24 in 48 readathon focuses on attempting to read for 24 hours within a 48-hour period (something I’ve never been able to accomplish, and especially won’t this year); you can find out more information here: https://24in48.com/. I’m expecting my participation this round to be less than stellar because I’ll be in D.C. this weekend for the Women’s March on Washington, but I’m planning to grab reading time whenever I can and to keep checking in on everyone’s reading on Instagram and Litsy.

As far as my TBR goes, there’s definitely going to be some overlap with my #Diverseathon TBR (although really, when am I going to have time to read this weekend??), so the only book I really have set aside for #24in48 is Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit, which I think fits in well with both the Women’s March and is a short book that would actually be realistic for me to finish during my trip.

Men Explain Things To Me (Updated Edition)

Diverseathon is a week-long readathon that focuses on reading diverse books, particularly #ownvoices books, and it’s a readathon that began on BookTube but is open to anyone across bookish social media. I first heard about it from Joce’s channel @squibblesreads, and you can find more information on her announcement video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G50d6cQ_Cko&t=0s. (I don’t really use twitter, but you can also check out the Diverseathon account here: https://twitter.com/diverseathon).

I have a more solid readathon plan in place for this one as opposed to #24in48 (because hopefully I’ll have more time to read!): I’m planning on finishing the audiobook of Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng and reading the print editions of The Mothers by Brit Bennett and Kindred by Octavia Butler. I’ve been hearing AMAZING things about Everything I Never Told You–I just barely started the audio today, but since I listen to audiobooks so slowly, I’m sure I’ll still only be partway through by the time the readathon starts. I’ve also heard that The Mothers is an incredible read; I don’t think I’ve read a single review that was less than stellar. I’ve mentioned before on my blog that Octavia Butler is one of my favorite authors and that my goal is eventually to read all of her books; everything I’ve read by her so far has absolutely blown me away, and Kindred will be my fifth Butler book.

Everything I Never Told YouThe MothersKindred

 

Is anyone else participating in either of these readathons? Let me know!

2017 Reading Goals

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Here are my (belated) reading goals for 2017! I’ve been thinking a lot about the books I managed to read in 2016 and how I can adapt that in 2017 so that I can not only get more enjoyment out of my reading but hopefully also continue to learn more and more through books. Pictured above are the ten books at the top of my TBR list for this  year, and below are the goals that I’ll try to use to shape my reading in 2017.

Reading Goal #1: Read more than one classic, including one longer classic – I completely failed at my goal to read at least one classic in 2016 (I read zero) but this year I’m determined. My classics reading has really taken a nosedive in recent years, but I really do enjoy them–not to mention I hate feeling like I haven’t read certain books that pretty much everyone else has.

Potential reads: Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, Persuasion by Jane Austen, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Reading Goal #2: Read more diversely – I didn’t do as well at reading diversely in 2016 as I’d wanted to. This year, I’d like to significantly increase the percentage of books I read by diverse authors.

Potential reads: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, The Mothers by Brit Bennett, A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki, The Devourers by Indra Das, and about a million other books

Reading Goal #3: #readmyowndamnbooks – 2016 was a huge year for book buying for me, and my physical TBR shelves have exploded. This year, I’d ideally like to focus on reading the books I own for the majority of my reading so that things don’t get too out of control.

Reading Goal #4: Read more big books – I’ve always been a huge fan of immersing myself in giant reads, but it’s something that I think being involved in bookish social media has somewhat dampened for me in the past few years. I think that I’ve been putting pressure on myself, intended or not, to read a certain number of books per month, and the fact that it takes me longer to read a 500+ page book has played into my decision on whether or not to pick up those longer reads. I’d like to try to ignore that “pressure” and instead just focus on what I really want to read, whether it’s 100 pages long or 1,000.

Potential reads: 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami, Arcadia by Iain Pears, The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell, The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

Reading Goal #5: Read more lesser-known and/or independently published books – Again, this goal goes back to being more active on Bookstagram and Litsy, as well as the blogging community. There are some books that we tend to see more than others on bookish social media, and they do tend to be new releases and YA books. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I do like to read both new releases and YA some of the time, but I also think that I need to do a better job at picking up books that aren’t as well-known and to discover hidden gems that aren’t always hyped up online.

Reading Goal #6: Discover new favorite authors

Potential reads: Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente, White Teeth by Zadie Smith, All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Reading Goal #7: Read more books from authors I love

Potential reads: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, Kindred by Octavia Butler, Hunger by Roxane Gay

Reading Goal #8: Relax, and enjoy what you read – Sometimes I can get too caught up in TBR lists and reading goals, and the resulting pressure can nudge me into a reading slump. So in 2017, I need to let myself realize that reading is fun and amazing no matter what I’m reading, and I don’t always need to overthink things. Reading is what I love, and it should be something that relieves stress, not adds to it!

 

What are your reading goals for 2017? Let me know!

 

 

Bout of Books Days 6&7 Updates & Wrap-Up

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So, this round of Bout of Books I relied heavily on mood-reading, which I’m totally OK with. Sometimes I just get in the mood for graphic novels and/or urban fantasy and/or YA, and this time all three of these moods overlapped and I was somehow able to accommodate them all in a week. Which is pretty cool! I did deviate a lot from my TBR list, but again, this happens sometimes when I spend too much time making TBRs and feel like I’m pressuring myself. I feel like as soon as 2017 started I was putting pressure on myself to #readmyowndamnbooks when I really should instead just be reading what I want to read. Overall, it was a really fun week of reading, and I think it definitely helped kickstart my reading for 2017.

Books finished: 7

Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan LunaMagic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8)Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9)Giant Days, Vol. 1 by John AllisonRelish by Lucy KnisleyGiant Days, Vol. 2 by John AllisonAlex + Ada, Vol. 3 by Jonathan Luna

Books started, but not finished: 2

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1)So Much for That Winter

#readmyowndamnbooks: None

Library books read: 5

 

And here are my stats for days 6 and 7:

Day 6

Pages read: 162 pages of Poison Princess

Books started: none

Books finished: none

Day 7:

Pages read: I have no idea, I was sort of skimming/re-reading the Dark Elements trilogy by Jennifer L. Armentrout and I didn’t really keep track

Books started: I mean, I guess I re-started the Dark Elements trilogy

Books finished: none, really

 

See any books you like? How did your Bout of Books go?

 

 

Bout of Books Days 4&5 Updates

There was a bit of a drop-off in my Bout of Books participation during Days 4 and 5 compared to the first few days, because work. But! I still managed to read two more graphic novels and start two other books–one is a bind-up of two novellas and an actual book on my physical tbr shelf, and the other is the first book in a romantic post-apocalyptic YA fantasy series.

I’m continuing to fail very hard at my goal of reading my own books, but as I haven’t yet posted about my reading goals of 2017, I’m deciding that it doesn’t count yet. I ended up going back to the library on Tuesday because I literally could not resist, and picked up four books–the next volumes of Alex + Ada and Giant Days, as well as Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (because I decided I was really in the mood for a new YA series) and Lord of the Flies by William Golding (because I have no idea how I haven’t read this book yet). So far Poison Princess seems like it’s a mash-up of like 18 different genres and like it’ll probably be a bit of a mess, but hopefully in a fun way. And for a classic, Lord of the Flies strikes me as a faster read and maybe something I can finish this weekend. So, I’m probably going to be putting the whole #readmyowndamnbooks thing on the back burner until Bout of Books is over, since mood reading seems to pair well with readathons for me.

Here are my stats for days 4 and 5:

Giant Days, Vol. 2 by John AllisonAlex + Ada, Vol. 3 by Jonathan Luna

Day 4

Pages read: 136

Books started: Giant Days, Vol 2

Books finished: Giant Days, Vol 2

Day 5

Pages read: 158

Books started: Alex+Ada, Vol 3, Poison Princess

Books finished: Alex+Ada, Vol 3

 

How is everyone else doing with Bout of Books so far?

Bout of Books Days 1, 2, and 3 Updates :)

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So far, Bout of Books is going wonderfully, and as always, this readathon really comes at the perfect time. I was out of town visiting friends in New York for New Years’ weekend, so I started Bout of Books on Monday on the plane ride home by finishing a re-read of Ilona Andrews’s Magic Shifts, the 8th book in her Kate Daniels series, and starting the newest and penultimate book in that series, Magic Binds. Tuesday was a long day back at work; unfortunately it was one of those 12-hour workdays that never seem to end, but I picked up Thai food on the way home and settled in with Volume 2 of Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn, a graphic novel series set in the near future that focuses on robots and ethics. I also read a bunch more of Magic Binds, which I was able to finish this morning since it’s my day off. I actually had a really productive reading day and was additionally able to finish the first volume of Giant Days, a graphic novel about three friends in their freshman year of college by John Allison and Lissa Treiman and Relish by Lucy Knisley, a graphic memoir about the author’s relationship with food. I also started So Much for That Winter by Dorthe Nors, an unconventionally formatted novella collection.

I always have these intentions of reading a bunch of books on my physical TBR shelf for readathons, but it usually doesn’t end up happening and I end up seduced by library and ebooks instead, since they tend to be my faster reads. For the first part of the readathon at least, I’ve really been in a graphic novel mood and I’m even tempted to return to my library to look for the next issues of Giant Days and Alex + Ada, so we’ll see how that goes.

Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels, #8)Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan LunaMagic Binds by Ilona AndrewsGiant Days, Vol. 1 by John AllisonRelish: My Life in the Kitchen

Here are my stats for the readathon so far:

Day 1

Pages read: 171

Books started: Magic Binds

Books finished: Magic Shifts

Day 2

Pages read: 246

Books started: Alex + Ada, Vol 2, Relish

Books finished: Alex + Ada, Vol 2

Day 3

Pages read: 456

Books started: Giant Days, Vol 1; So Much for That Winter

Books finished: Magic Binds, Giant Days Vol 1, Relish

Is anyone else participating in Bout of Books? How is the readathon going for you? Let me know!